Microsoft: HTML5 and JavaScript key for Office 15 development

Microsoft: HTML5 and JavaScript key for Office 15 development

Microsoft’s seemingly never-ending infatuation with HTML5 continues, this time in regards to Office 15, the next version of Office likely due in 2012.

In Office 15, Microsoft intends to allow developers to use HTML5 and JavaScript to build add ons, plugins, and also interface with Office 365 and SharePoint.

As Office 365 and SharePoint are generally labeled as ‘cloud’ services, Microsoft allowing for HTML5 in applications that will bridge them is hardly surprising, but it is important; the company is on a kick of product unification, something that it sorely needs.

The news of HTML5 and Javascript inclusion as programming options for coming Office 15 development was uncovered by ZDNet, who found reference to the capability in several Microsoft job postings. Finding information in such postings is a simple, and effective, way to dig into what Microsoft’s longer term projects are, without being forced to walk through a PR thicket.

According to one job listing, “[Integration of JavaScript/HTML5 will] enable professional developers to contribute to the Office platform by making development for Office as easy and fun as building applications for the next version of Windows!”

That sounds a touch optimistic, but the concept is laudable.

What does this mean for the more traditional programming languages and frameworks that are in use now? According to ZDNet:

It’s worth noting that these job posts do not make it sound as if Microsoft is retiring VBA, VSTO or any other existing Office programmability tools in the near term

There’s little question, though, that the new emphasis is definitely on HTML5 and JavaScript as preferred ways to develop new apps and services for the coming versions of Windows and Office. With Microsoft championing the app store concept with Windows 8, it’s easy to see how HTML5/JS-crafted Office add-ons and apps could fit in quite naturally.

The future of Office 15 is slowly taking shape, but there are many more layers that need to be unwrapped before we can claim to have a good idea of its rough form. For now, we learn in bits and pieces. Perhaps at BUILD in September Microsoft will provide fresh insight.

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